Artist spotlight: Nipsey Hussle

The first article in my ‘Artist spotlight’ series brings us to Crenshaw. It’s 1985, Ermias Asghedom is born. This is the man who went on to become the late, great Nipsey Hussle…


A brief blurb

In an underprivileged Crenshaw neighbourhood, Nipsey grew up wanting to speak out to better the economic situation that surrounded him and those around him. He was true to his East African roots and voiced that his visits there had brought him to find his purpose as a musician, and generally made him more aware about the world. His later successes led him to own clothing stores, a talent brand and shared office spaces. He was involved in a plethora of community projects, which allowed him to make his mark in an area that’s often typically known for its crime rate. 

In 2005, Nipsey dropped his first mixtape, ‘Slauson Boy Volume 1’. But it wasn’t until 2009 that Nipsey’s rap profile had a real boost — collaborations with Drake and Snoop Dogg rewarded him with the mega-exposure he’d been careering towards. And his ability to fuse articulate lyrics with quintessential hip-hop beats and token sampled hooks meant he certainly deserved the recognition. One of my favourite records of his — not just for the uptempo tune, but for the honesty of the words — is ‘Hussle in the House’, which playfully samples Kriss Kross’ ‘Jump’. 

Years later, Nipsey founded his own label, All Money In, which is when his ‘The Marathon’ and follow-up mixtapes came to the fore. He had bequeathed to the West Coast music scene a wealth of incredible material before he was shockingly and devastatingly shot in 2019.

Top tracks

Here’s an amuse-bouche to get you acquainted:

► ‘Hussle in the House’

They Roll (feat. The Game)’

► ‘Gangstas Life (feat. Snoop Dogg)’

► ‘Grinding All My Life’

► ‘Call from the Bank (feat. MGMT)’

Nipsey Hussle. Image credit: screenshot from Spotify album artwork

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